Gigabyte Brix 7200 Displays 4K

I’ve had a Gigabyte Brix GB-BKi5HA-7200 for a while now.


This is about the 3rd Mini system that I’ve had. Maybe fourth if you include one that I built from parts. This one has:

Linux Mint Fails in 4K

It was running Linux Mint 18 and recently Linux Mint 19. And this was working fine, except recently I upgraded the monitor to a Samsung 40″ 4K TV – UN40MU6300FXZA. I found the Refurbished TV for about $290 for sale by Walmart a couple of months ago. This is quite a good price for this Samsung 6300 level TV.

Walmart_- Samsung 4K UHD TV_-_2018-08-04_15.37.31xx.png

Since I use this mini system to display photos and game screen shots a large high-rez display is just the thing. However, Linux Mint has never supported the display correctly.

As you can see, when in 4K [3840×2160], the display is sliced up and repeated across the screen. It works fine in 1920×1080 mode on Linux. From all the reading of the processor and TV specs, it looked like it should work fine and when I use a long HDMI cable to plug the TV into a Windows 10 system with a GTX 1060 card, it works fine too in 4K.

I am using a pair of 2K monitors through a IOGear Displayport switch and Linux Mint works just fine with that using a GTX 1050 card, which has DisplayPort output.

After spending a couple of days on various forums trying to understand and fix the problem on the BRIX with no luck, I had the bright idea of just trying Windows 10 directly on the system. So I made a Windows 10 install Thumb drive, removed the M.2 Sata, to avoid messing up the Linux Install with Windows 10, and installed Windows 10 on the 60GB SATA SSD. Worked like a charm and brought the monitor right up in 4K without problems.

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Experiments in 4K

Ever the experimenter, I recently got a Samsung 40″ Class MU6300 4K UHD TV. As you can see from the price, I didn’t choose MSRP.  I was just checking what prices were doing on UHD TVs and came across a deal on a refurbished model at almost 50% off.

The first one arrived broken. But I didn’t despair . After calling Walmart customer service, they agreed to ship me another and emailed a return label for the broken one.

Apparently, the first one had been dropped before it was packed since it was in some serious bubble wrap and there was no mark on the box. Oh well. The pictures above were taken when it was plugged in and the damage was not evident when the TV was not plugged in.

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Vizio P65 TV Glitches

About a year and a half ago I bought a Vizio P65 TV. The Model was C1 at that time. This model is apparently no longer available, apparently. The new model is E1 as shown here.

Just after a year, when the TV was out of warranty, two of the four HDMI ports failed. I paid about $400 for an out of warranty repair to replace the “Main Board” and the HDMI ports all work now. The repair required two folks, since the TV is very heavy and must be laid down on it’s face for a mainboard repair. Also the folks drove over 200 miles to reach my house, so I doubt if they broke even on the repair.

Now the TV is Rebooting

However, after this repair, about twice, or more, times per day, the TV seizes up and reboots.

When it reboots, almost always, but not always, the restart process starts with the screen showing a repeating pattern of the lower few rows of the screen. Then after about 10 seconds, the TV restarts showing the Vizio brand chevron. This example happened while watching the Dish Hopper.

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New Receiver from Denon

de_ avr_s930h_e3_ar_lo.png

The new AVR – Audio Video Receiver – has arrived. Works great.

The choice is the Denon AVR S930H – All the video support and way more Audio support than I need. My speakers are only 5.1 and this one supports 7.2 or as they are saying these days 5.2.2. But I needed this level of support to get HDR10 / Dolby Vision which my TV supports.



An Oppo UDP 203 4K BluRay Player will probably be added in a couple of months to finish the AV system upgrade.


Marantz – The Real Issue

Crys_00100I think I’ve found the issue. EDID.

The EDID or Extended Display Identification Data is a packet of information sent from a monitor or TV to the source of the video and tells the source what types of video the display can process.

Imagine for a moment that we have a receiver from 2013 – pre 4K – that contains an HDMI switch. Now imagine that one buys almost any TV today – almost all of them support 4K. Now imagine that one purchases something that produces video – BluRay player, XBox Console, Playstation, even a modern set top box. Most of these support 4K video.

So what happens if the EDID from the 4K TV passes unchanged through the NR1504 from 2013 to the video source that can produce 4K? Well the source happily produces 4K video and the NR1504 cannot pass it. Black screen? Apparently.

Was the Marantz 1504 never modifying the EDID? Or did it just start not modifying the EDID? Or did the Linux computer get a new driver that was willing to produce 4K video?

I hooked up an HD monitor to the NR1504 and hooked the Linux box back up to the Media input and voila. Everything works fine, of course.

It seems clear that in this world of ubiquitous 4K sources and displays, the Marantz NR1504 needs to be modifying the EDID or producing one of it’s own to continue to work.

I’ve used the display settings in Linux to use HD only and that works fine with the TV, but when I plugged it back into the NR1504 it still didn’t work. Oh well. Time for a new Receiver that gets 4K. But at least I can use the Linux system by plugging it directly into the TV and setting it to HD.


Marantz – Watch Out for Updates!

Marantz NR1504

I’ve had a Marantz NR1504 for a couple of years at least. As you can see, it was released in 2013 and is no longer made – according to Marantz Tech Support.

My Marantz NR1504 Receiver recently took an update over the internet. Automatically. And the next time my Linux Mint System booted, the receiver refused to pass video from the Linux system. Dish Hopper and Sony Bluray player work fine. I thought the problem was the Linux Kernel Update that I’d done, so I pulled the machine out of the Entertainment system and attached another monitor to it thinking that I would need to re-install Linux Mint 18.2, but it came up fine with the other monitor. Also, I’ve swapped HDMI cable and used other Receiver input ports, and when the Linux system is attached directly to the Vizio Pseries TV, it works fine, in FREAKING 4K no less. Of course the NR1504 only supports HD, not 4K. In 4K the print is so small on my 65″ TV that I can barely see it. But it works fine and Youtube is also fine.

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Headphones from HDMI?

So what if you want to listen to headphones in this modern HDMI connected world?

There were some old converters, but they only decoded 2.1 sound. Here’s one that decodes 2.1 or 5.1 sound. 2.1 sound is not going to be enough. Most broadcasts these days are 5.1 or 7.1 and most Set Top boxes and BluRay can be dumbed down to 5.1, but probably not 2.1.

HDMI Audio Extractor

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UHD TVs Are Here – Where’s the Content?

UHD TVs are Affordable
UHD TVs are Affordable

UHD TVs, sometimes called 4K TVs are appearing for very affordable prices. With the demise of 3D – no manufacturers are shipping 3D TVs this year – the TV makers had to come up with something to get us to buy another TV.

I was recently shocked to see a 55″ LG UHD TV for $1798 at Walmart. The TV looks awesome. It’s IPS, which means better off-axis viewing. Right next to the LG model is a Samsung model, but it had no price attached. In contrast to the large LG display touting 4K and UHD, the Samsung display had in small letters – 2160p, 240Hz – which is clearly a UHD spec.

There are two remaining problems with UHD that don’t seem to be slowing down manufacturers at all, but should give you pause before you drop your money on these sets:

  • There is no content. Of course they will upscale your HD content of any kind. But except for a very few Netflix movies that will stream in UHD, provided you have a UHD Netflix receiver box, there is no content. The BluRay standards group is still arguing about a UHD standard. TechRadar has an interesting summary article.  No TV stations have said anything about upgrading. No really affordable UHD camcorders exist, although some video editors like Corel Video Studio Pro – Less than $100 per seat – will edit UHD content.
  • The UHD standard is not finalized. It sure would be nice if the standard would finalize before you bought that new TV. For a complete discussion of the entire problem of the UHD standard, watch this TWIT episode of Home Theater Geeks.

What is Available Now?

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